Can an acting performance be “too big”?
Are you concerned your performances are “too big”? Maybe you’ve started to become conservative in your choices because of a fear of being “over the top” or too “act-y”.
This is a topic that gets me fired up!! Listen, all too often I see actors let this fear paralyze them in their preparation, creating bland, mumbly, dull performances. Boooooring! We go to the movies and theatre to see all the exciting stuff about life. Not to watch someone chat with their mom and run errands. Right? Life isn’t boring and bland, why should your acting be?
So how are you supposed to know how big is too big??
Well, here’s the secret.
There is NO SUCH THING AS TOO BIG, as long as you are emotionally justified and grounded in truth in your performance. Even on camera. Yep, I said it.
Watch Johnny Depp in anything he does. Every time I have ever asked a class who some of their favorite actors are, Johnny Depp comes up. Why? Well, for one, we know he isn’t afraid of being too big or act-y or we never would have gotten that Captain Jack Sparrow we all love so much.
And what about Cate Blanchett in The Aviator? If you haven’t seen it, add it to your list. She even had the challenge of playing a real person, a person known for their incredibly distinct mannerisms and voice. Cate pulled it off beautifully and she won an Oscar for it.
The last example is one my great teacher Larry Moss gives all the time because it really proves the point so well. You must watch the movie Moonstruck written by the fabulous writer John Patrick Shanley starring Nicolas Cage and Cher. This scene with Nicolas Cage (at about 2:45 in or so) is more proof that there is no such thing as “too big”.
Remember, you must be emotionally justified in all of your acting choices and it should make sense for the world the writer gave you. Start with honesty and you’ll forget all about how big you are.
Now get out there and rock it! Big time. (pun intended)